It has been a big day for equality. A Federal judge in Texas ruled today that denying gay people their right to marry violates the federal constitution. On the heals of that decision, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the revolting Senate Bill 1062, which would have allowed unfettered discrimination against LGBT people within their state.
Below are her remarks from the press conference.
Good evening, and thank you for joining me here today.The question is, how will this impact other states who seek to impose the same discriminatory laws that the Arizona legislature passed? Just today, Ohio withdrew a similar bill fearing the overwhelming backlash that occurred in Arizona as well as in Kansas earlier this month.
I am here to announce my decision on Senate Bill 1062.
As with every proposal that reaches my desk, I gave Senate Bill 1062 careful evaluation and deliberate consideration. I call them like I see them, despite the cheers or boos from the crowd.
I took the time necessary to make the RIGHT decision. I met or spoke with my attorneys, lawmakers and citizens supporting and opposing this legislation. I listened and asked questions. As Governor, I have protected religious freedoms when there is a specific and present concern that exists in OUR state. And I have the record to prove it. My agenda is to sign into law legislation that advances Arizona.
When I addressed the Legislature earlier this year, I made my priorities for this session abundantly clear… Among them are passing a responsible budget that continues Arizona’s economic Comeback.
From CEOs -- to entrepreneurs -- to business surveys -- Arizona ranks as one the best states to grow or start a business. Additionally, our IMMEDIATE challenge is fixing a broken Child Protection system. Instead, this is the first policy bill to cross my desk.
Senate Bill 1062 does not address a specific and present concern related to religious liberty in Arizona. I have not heard of one example in Arizona where a business owner’s religious liberty has been violated. The bill is broadly worded and could result in unintended and negative consequences.
After weighing all of the arguments, I vetoed Senate Bill 1062 moments ago. To the supporters of the legislation, I want you to know that I understand that long-held norms about marriage and family are being challenged as never before.
Our society is undergoing many dramatic changes. However, I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve. It could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and no one would ever want.
Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value, so is non-discrimination. Going forward, let’s turn the ugliness of the debate over Senate Bill 1062 into a renewed search for greater respect and understanding among ALL Arizonans and Americans. Thank you.
There are several other states that have introduced similar legislation at the behest of extremist conservative Christians and professional anti-equality organizations. Currently Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Idaho, Missouri, South Dakota and Utah are either forging ahead with their own versions or considering following suit.
Will what happened today in Arizona dampen enthusiasm for enshrining discrimination into law, or will it only embolden bigots who would love nothing more than to legally shun us? Time will tell, however one thing is for sure. This deeply hateful new tactic of the religious right has been laid bare and Americans (and businesses) have seen for themselves just how ugly it is and have let their distaste be known. Fascinating times.